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EVOLUTION OF WI-FI AND ITS USES

EVOLUTION OF WI-FI AND ITS USES

Introduction:

Wi-Fi is a wireless local area network technology using devices operating on the IEEE 802.11 standards. Wi-Fi uses ISM (Industrial, Scientific and Medical) radio waves which are frequency bands that can be used freely in a small space for various applications.

Wi-Fi is a regulatory innovation from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) which first decided on the use of Wi-Fi. Indeed, Wi-Fi became operational following a decision of the FCC (American telecom regulator) in 1985 which opened the ISM band. The first version of the 802.11 protocol, which was released in 1997, allowed link speeds of up to 2 Mbit/s. In 1999, the 802.11b protocol was released to allow speeds of 11 Mbit/s. Since then, it has undergone significant modifications. The IEEE 802.11 standard is a set of media access control and physical layer specifications for implementing wireless LAN computer communications in various frequency bands. These standards are managed and maintained by the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) standards body.

Evolution of WIFI:

Currently, Wi-Fi technology , which has evolved greatly with the advent of WIFI 6 E, has become very important for users and especially for those using FTTH or 5G technology.
The different versions are enriched by several amendments to meet specific needs in terms of speed, signal range and type of services. This technology has undergone continuous development which is currently increasing, especially with changes in consumption habits in terms of telecommunications services as well as with the proliferation of terminals using Wi-Fi as an access technology. Even more than Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 6E is the wireless network for streaming 4K, 8K, and online video.

Wi-Fi 6 is an important evolution for this wireless standard.

Wi-Fi usage:

It should be noted that the diversity in the use of Wi-Fi technology, which has gone from a local network technology for business sites, seeking more flexibility and less cabling, to an access pooling solution at homes, especially with FTTH (fiber to the home) services.
This use has not been limited to private or commercial spaces such as cafes and hotels, but has spread to public spaces such as parks, airports, universities and even to public transport such as trains and buses, becoming thus the first Internet access technology.

Faced with this growth in use, operators have multiplied the installation of Wi-Fi access points called Hotspots and have even sealed partnerships with international operators specializing in Wi-Fi networks, to achieve higher coverage rates. The use of the Wi-Fi network for customer access to the Internet has also become a solution of choice for reducing the costs incurred by operators. Investing in Wi-Fi has therefore become a strategic choice for the entire telecommunications ecosystem. We also note the development, in parallel of new Wi-Fi uses, from the direct connection between equipment via “Direct Wi-Fi” technology as well as the use of Wi-Fi for the connectivity of Machine to Machine (IoT) equipment. To this diversity in the use of Wi-Fi, more and more terminals supporting Wi-Fi

Routers:

Routers are often installed in homes and other buildings. They provide internet and inter-network access to all devices connected wirelessly or by cable. Also, many mobile terminals (smartphones) can connect to Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi 6:

Wi-Fi 6 compared to Wi-Fi 5 for a single terminal has a theoretical shared bandwidth of 9.6 Gb/s compared to 3.5 Gb/s of Wi-Fi 5.
In Morocco, the National Telecommunications Regulatory Agency (ANRT) of Morocco has published a decision detailing a number of changes to the spectrum used by low-power, short-range devices. Among these changes, it is now possible to take advantage of the Wi-Fi 6E standard, which can significantly increase the speed of indoor wireless networks. Therefore, we can say that WIFI 6E has been operational in Morocco since July 2021.

The Wi-Fi radio spectrum:

The great novelty of Wi-Fi 6E is that it adds a new frequency range in 6 GHz, in addition to the two historical bands of 2.4 and 5 GHz. And it is a frequency much more interesting than the others. It is completely lightened in comparisons with the one of 2.4 GHz band, where Bluetooth, microwaves, etc. also coexisted.
• This band goes from 5.925 GHz to 7.125 GHz, that is up to 1200 MHz of range available. A priori, Europe, and therefore France, will only use 500 MHz initially (from 5,925 to 6,425 MHz), that is, six channels of 80 MHz, and three channels of 160 MHz.
To put this frequency bandwidth into perspective, let’s compare the spectrum available at 2.4, 5 and 6 GHz:
• 2.4GHz: 80MHz
• 5 GHz: 180 MHz (500 MHz, maximum thanks to DFS, for Dynamic Frequency Selection (2)
• 6GHz: 1200MHz
Wi-Fi 6E therefore has at least twice as much frequency band as Wi-Fi 6 offered.
A richness that will allow the multiplication of communication channels, the size of which will vary according to the uses and the number of devices to be connected.

(*) René Serres is Telecom and ICT consultant.

(1): The IEEE 802.11 standard is a set of media access control and physical layer specifications for implementing wireless LAN computer communications in various frequency bands. These standards are managed and maintained by the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) standards body. Below is the evolution of the “802-11” protocols from 1997 to 2021.

(2): DFS (Dynamic Frequency Selection) technology, allowing an access point to monitor the frequency spectrum and select the frequency that is not used by the Radar system. This technology makes it possible to avoid any use of Radar channels on specific bands.

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